I had tried quite a few pepper mills (and broke most of them) and was getting frustrated. I liked grinding my own in the mortar and pestle (does anyone know which is the mortar and which is the pestle?) but that was time consuming, especially with the amount of fresh black pepper I like.
I did just read a good suggestion in Cook’s Illustrated magazine where a reader put plastic wrap over the mortar and cut a hole for the pestle and that way the peppercorns (or anything else hard) doesn’t go flying around the kitchen while you’re trying to crush them. It’s an excellent idea that I’ll test out the next time I use my mortar and pestle.
However, while I do love my mortar and pestle, a good mill is a godsend.
Steven Kubien of Green Leaf Wood Studios made me a salt and pepper grinder set from ash, but he can make them out of virtually anything you like, including laminating different woods together.
Steve’s mills are beautiful and very, very functional. They are all I use for grinding sea salt or black pepper. I still use pinch pots for kosher salt and sea salt and my big mortar and pestle for a chunkier, larger grind of pepper, but for basic grinding, these are fantastic.
I highly recommend these, especially if you’re looking for a gift this Christmas for a fellow cook (or for yourself!). Steve has a shop on Etsy for easy and convenient online shopping.
Steve’s website has additional pictures of beautiful woodwork like this one, another mill, made of walnut, goncalo alves and white oak.
Now that is art!!!
But I like mine very much, unless Steve is thinking I need another one… just kidding (well, not really. Belle, are you taking note?).